It's easy to look at successful people and think they were born with some innate talent that set them on the path to greatness. But the truth is that every successful person, whether in business, sports or politics, likely overcame countless setbacks to get to where they are.
In fact, failure can be one of the best teachers. When we fail, we are forced to examine what went wrong, and we often discover new ways of doing things that we would never have uncovered otherwise. Failure can also help us build resilience and perseverance, which are critical traits for success.
Society's attitude toward failure is problematic because it largely associates it with weakness, rather than recognizing it as a sign of courage. It takes courage to try something new, to take risks and to put yourself out there. And when you fail, it takes even more courage to pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes and keep going. To embrace failure, we must shift our mindset and see failure as an opportunity for growth, rather than a sign of weakness.
It is not enough to simply fail and move on. To truly embrace failure, we must take the time to reflect on what went wrong and use that knowledge to improve. This means analyzing our missteps and figuring out what we could have done differently. When we do this, we are able to learn from our mistakes and apply that knowledge to future endeavors.
Practicing Brazilian jiujitsu has helped me reframe my attitude toward failure—when grappling with an opponent in a match or a challenge at work. These three key lessons from martial arts can help you develop a black-belt mentality in your own professional life:
In Brazilian jiujitsu, it is the black belt who has been tapped out more times than anyone else. The black belt has failed, so to speak, more than anyone else, but they have also learned from those failures to become masters of their craft. It is similar in the business world. The most successful people are often those who have failed the most. Perseverance is critical for success, and failure is one of the best ways to encourage this quality.
I still remember the first time my Brazilian jiujitsu instructor reminded us that nobody starts as a black belt. It was a humbling moment, but it also reminded me that the journey to mastery is paved with setbacks. Every time I get tapped out, I'm reminded that I still have much to learn, and I use that experience to improve my skills and become a better martial artist.
Failure allows us to develop empathy and understanding for others who face similar challenges. It grants us the wisdom to offer guidance and support to those who are navigating their own paths to success. So, let us not fear failure, but instead, embrace it as a transformative force that propels us toward greatness.
All things considered, I believe failure is a necessary ingredient for success. The ability to learn from failure and use that knowledge to improve is crucial. Embracing failure requires a mindset shift, where we see failure as an opportunity for growth, rather than a sign of weakness. By adopting a black-belt mentality and cultivating resilience, we can use failure as a stepping stone toward success.